Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and registrar of High Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba have been elected chairperson and interim secretary general, respectively, in two different regional bodies.
Nyirenda will head the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum (SACJF) while Patemba was elected to the executive board of Southern African Judicial Administrators Association (Sajaa) during the two bodies’ annual general meetings (AGMs) held last week.
Their election comes barely a month after Lilongwe-based High Court judge Charles Mkandawire was also elected president of Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) during the body’s general assembly held in Australia.
The Chief Justice took over from Peter Shivute of Namibia while Patemba, whose chairperson is from Namibia, replaced a South African representative.
In an interview yesterday, Patemba said the appointments were a positive development for the country as they speak volumes about the local Judiciary’s capability to lead at the international level.
Commenting on the developments, Malawi Law Society (MLS) honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde said the election of the two judicial officers demonstrates the trust the regional bodies have in the Malawi Judiciary.
She said: “It also signals commitment as a country to participate in international activities that strengthen relations and capacity in delivering services to the public.”
Kaukonde said through interactions at regional level, the country’s judges and judicial administrators appreciate best practices implemented by their counterparts and implement them locally.
SACF was established in 2003 and, among other objectives, commits to protect and promote democracy, justice, the rule of law and fundamental human rights as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People’s rights.
It also advances access to courts, promotes provision of State-funded legal aid schemes, good governance and eradication of corruption.